The Honolulu Police Department "holds its officers to a higher standard than the general public," Police Chief Louis Kealoha said yesterday after the arrest of a 25-year HPD veteran on suspicion of shoplifting.
John F. Rapozo was arrested last week at the Walmart store in Pearl City.
Rapozo, assigned to the Narcotics-Vice Division, was charged with fourth-degree theft Friday and released from custody after posting bail.
His first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 6 in Ewa District Court.
He is the latest city police officer to be charged with a crime.
Following disclosure of Rapozo’s arrest, Kealoha said five officers in a 2,000-member force are being investigated for alleged major crimes.
Kealoha added that "cases involving an additional 17 officers are with the prosecutor’s office."
Michelle Yu, police spokeswoman, said no further details would be released because the cases are open.
Last month, officer Michael Tarmoun was indicted by an Oahu grand jury for allegedly assaulting a Waikiki prostitute — a charge he has denied.
Boyd Kamikawa, 53, was arrested in April on suspicion of negligent injury and cited for driving under the influence after his car hit a 61-year-old female pedestrian.
In July, nearly half of the officers assigned to the department’s DUI roadblock detail were temporarily reassigned to other duties during an investigation of false reporting of overtime in the Traffic Division.
Two sergeants and six officers in the Enforcement Unit of the Traffic Division were reassigned, losing their badges and guns and police authority while they continued to work.
About a dozen DUI cases have had to be dismissed because of the case, the prosecutor’s office said.
In a written statement, Kealoha said, "The department holds its officers to a higher standard than the general public, and every allegation or complaint is fully investigated. Criminal cases involving officers are conferred with the prosecutor’s office to determine whether charges will be filed. It’s important to note that even cases that do not result in criminal charges are still subject to administrative review or disciplinary action."
In December, Kealoha, in his annual report to the state Legislature, said 26 police officers were disciplined for 29 incidents in 2009 for violating the department’s standards of conduct dealing specifically with malicious use of force, mistreatment of prisoners, use of drugs and narcotics, and cowardice.
The report said one officer was discharged because of "malicious use of force" but did not provide details.
The longest suspension meted out last year was for 20 days for excessive use of force; it was not disclosed whether it was for the same officer who was discharged.